Maryland has a chance at its first Black Governor after Primary
By Ryan Vele
Vox reports that former NAACP president Ben Jealous is breaking new political ground in Maryland. Following the primary, Jealous won the Democratic nomination against Prince George’s County official Rushern Baker, giving him the chance to be the first Black governor in the state’s history as well as the third African-American to be a governor, period. What’s shocking is that this marks Jealous’s first time as a political candidate, but he beat out several more experienced names from a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and a Maryland state senator.
What’s shocking is that this marks Jealous’s first time as a political candidate, but he beat out several more experienced names; from a former adviser to Hillary Clinton and a Maryland state senator. Polls put Jealous close to Baker ahead of the election on Tuesday. However, his biggest challenge is yet to come, with Jealous running against popular incumbent Larry Hogan in the fall. The progressive wing of the Democratic party hasn’t seen much success in Maryland’s primary cycle to date. Jealous, a longtime community organizer and a partner at Kapor Capital, a venture capital firm, was a Maryland co-chair for Bernie Sanders’s campaign in 2012 and a top 2018 prospect touted by Our Revolution, a Sanders-aligned group.
However, one notable difference is that he has several people with Democratic clout coming out to stump for him, including Sens. Kamala Harris (Calif.) and Cory Booker (NJ). Having formerly worked for Sanders, it makes sense that Jealous would want to combine that populist message with one of racial justice. “My path is basically the two communities that I’ve spent my career, the Black community and black and brown communities, and the progressive community,” Jealous told Mother Jones.
Maryland is a-third Black, so there’s certainly a large audience to appeal with as a start. Interestingly, African American political leaders like Donna Edwards — who mounted a failed bid against now-Sen. Chris Van Hollen in 2016 — have said that they did not feel the full backing of the Democratic establishment when they’ve run in the past.
Jealous is also in good company when it comes to running in the fall. Stacey Abrams swept her race in Georgia in May, making her the other African-American to win a Democratic gubernatorial primary this election cycle. It will be interesting to see how the newcomer Jealous’s campaign takes shape as we get closer to the midterm elections.
Update: At the release of this article, Ben Jealous won the Democratic Primary Race for Governor